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They Forced me to do Everything !


“Horrifying Testimonies of Yazidi Survivors Escaped Recently from ISIS Grip”

by wael.m
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Preface: Parallel with the military operations Syrian Democratic Forces /SDF/[1] commenced on November 5, 2016 in order to wrest number of cities and towns of Raqqa province from the grip of the Islamic State Organization/ISIS/[2] and the military attacks carried out by the Syrian government supported by pro-foreign militias (Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan) in Deir ez-Zur, dozens of Yazidi kidnapped young girls and families  succeeded to escape ISIS  captivity and reach areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF/ and other areas.

On  August 3, 2014, ISIS had stormed the majority-Yazidis areas  Sinjar/Shingal in Iraq and according to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arabic Republic, ISIS sold thousands of women and girls, some were only nine years old, in slaves market or Souk Sabaya as it was called in Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs, al-Hasakeh and Deir ez-Zur. However, the report stressed that ISIS fighters had sold, gifted and exchanged girls between each other[3].

According to Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ/ reporter, dozens of Yazidis abductees and families manage to escape from ISIS captivity and access areas under SDF control, and then they were handed over to the Sinjar Yazidis Council[4], which is in charge of Yazidis male/female kidnapped.

 

The General Directorate of Yazidi Affairs at Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Endowments issued a  statistic on  August 2, 2017, contained figures of Yazidi and estimated it to be approximately 550 thousand people in the region, prior to ISIS control of Sinjar district, the statistic also indicated that the total number of the abductees reached (6413), (3543) were females, and (2870) were males, while the statistic estimated number of women survived from the grip of ISIS to (956) and (328) men, as well as (690) male children.

 

On March 15, 2017, the statistic reported that (3502) Yazidi are still kidnapped by ISIS, including 1718 women and girls who are subjected to sexual slavery and trading between ISIS commands and emirs, and some of them are used as slaves of the Organization leaders’ wives who violently beat them all the time.

 

 “They told me: Did you convert to Islam or not? I told them I did not want to embrace Islam. But they later forced me to do that, and as a result of constant beatings and death threats, I was doing some rituals such as praying, fasting and reading the Qur’an. They forced me to do everything.’

 

With these words, Nofa Aziz Hussein, a survivor who is 18 years old, (she was kidnapped when she was about 15), summarized her story while being in the grip of ISIS after spending three years of detention and captivity. Anyway, STJ could meet her along with other survivors, upon their arrival in the city of Qamishli in late September 2017. Nofa hails from the village of Kojo, and was kidnapped by ISIS fighters when they attacked her village, but she finally managed to flee and reach SDF-controlled areas on September 30, 2017, as she recounted to STJ the first moments of ISIS attack on the area, she said:

 “ISIS fighters entered the village of Kojo, gathered women, children and men in the village school, then they took the men to an unknown destination and we do not know what happened with them and whether they killed them or not. They separated girls from women and took us (little girls) to Mosul, then to the region of Tall Afar and then to Syria.”

 

Nofa, or as ISSI also called her “Maria”, has just arrived from the city of Afrin to Qamishli in al-Hasakeh province in north-eastern Syria, and all she remembers that ISIS agents drugged her along with other women, in addition to tying her hands and feet to impose on her marriage and to sale her and then abuse her sexually.

 

Image shows the survivor, Nofa Aziz Hussein, after she managed to flee from the ISIS captivity, September 30, 2017. Photo credit: STJ

 

 

Vian Hussain Babeer, a woman from Soulag village in Shingal and a mother of three children, ISIS fighters attacked her village as well, took away her husband to a yard in the village along with the rest of the village men, and then they shot them after they laid them down on the ground. Vian has no idea until this moment whether her husband is alive or not, in this regard she spoke to STJ, saying:

“One morning, hordes of ISIS stormed our village; they gathered all the women in my house and all the men in my husband’s brother’s house. After that, they took the men to one of the village yards and shot them, and I do not know if my husband is alive or not, but we witnessed how the organization fighters shot the men in the yard. After that, they took us (women) to Mosul particularly to Badush prison, I was pregnant, and I gave birth there and named my son “Del Waar”. Several days later, they took us to a school in Tal Afar area where we stayed for about 20 days, and then they took us to houses that seemed to be Shiite’s houses in the village of Qezzel Qayu, where we stayed for about four months before they moved us to Syria and specifically to a “big mansion-a big building” in Raqqa province.  The mansion was full of girls and women, and there were people who came daily to buy batches of women and girls and take them to different areas. Anyway, I was in one of those batches that directed to Deir ez-Zur, the Syrian province.”

 

Image of the survivor Vian after fleeing the grip of ISIS and arriving Qamishli on September 30, 2017.

Photo credit: STJ

 

She Forgot her Sufferings after Seeing her Children’s…

As a result of human trafficking, selling and buying children and women among ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of them arrived Syria particularly to ISIS control-areas in Raqqa city, before wresting it from the Organization’s grip[5], and in Deir ez-Zur city. This matter that Nofa confirmed to STJ concerning her trip of suffering to Syria, specifically in Deir ez-Zur province where she was transferred, she said:

“At the beginning, I refused to obey ISIS orders to convert to Islam, but they forced me to do that, so I started to fast and pray out of fear. I still remember how they used to lock the doors, in order not to see sunlight, how they were wandering around in several places to sell me, and how I was being bought by old people from ISIS. Moreover, as a kind of punishment they put me on the battlefront three times.”

 

Vian, along with her children, also transferred to Deir ez-Zur, particularly to the house of ash-Sheikh of the Organization identified as “Abu Abdallah”, for serving him and his women who had always beaten her. She lived a horrible life filled with horrors given the daily torture and starvation, she stayed at ash-Sheikh’s house for two months, until a Libyan trader bought her and forced her to marry him until she could escape, she continued:

 “A Libyan trader bought me and married me forcibly, and luckily I was not being sold too much by this merchant, as he was going around so much and he did not have time to sell me. I have tried to escape more than ten times, and each time we were caught, we were whipped deadly. They separated me from my children for eight months; at first, I did not know where they took them, but later I knew they were in an area called Al-Meri’iyaeh and when they came back they looked as if they lost their mind. I forgot my suffering and my torture and started thinking about my children, their future, and their suffering. I learned later that they had taken them to battlefronts, and sometimes they locked them in empty houses, as one of the “captives/Sabaya” detailed. In addition, ISIS replaced our Kurdish names with another names; they changed my daughter’s name, Delin, to Aisha, and changed the name Delbrin to Yusuf, the name Delovan to Bin Laden, and name of the little Del waar was changed to Ibrahim, and mine to Nora.”

 

Concerning brutality treatments with young girls, Vian said:

“ISIS agents say that it is forbidden/Haraam to have sex with women while they are on period, therefore, they were raping girls at the age of nine years, they were giving them birth control pills, and those young girls were usually bleeding after a while following the sexual abuse. Anyway, we forgot our pains when we saw how those young girls subjected to such brutal practices. It was noted that young girls were sold at higher prices, unlike women, especially those who had been sold and bought many times. Sometimes, ISIS agents’ wives used to sell Yazidis in case they needed money or anything else. Most of the buying and selling processes took place in a special market in Raqqa, and Abu Maz’al/Abu Mesh’al, who had Syrian accent, was the person in charge of this market. Women and girls were dressed in obscene clothes and were offered for sale to all those who wished to buy them.”

 

Attempts to Escape from ISIS Inferno

Vian got fed with life inside ISIS state, she tried many times to escape from ISIS grip, and every time she failed to escape, she was subjected to various kinds of beatings and torture, she said:

“We usually tried to escape after 6 p.m., exploiting the empty streets at the time of prayer, given the Organization was whipping up every person who came out in that time. Prior the success of my last attempt to escape, there was an attempt before it, as I carried my children and walked about five hours, and then we reached an area called the railway station/Sekat al-Qitar, we came across people from the neighborhood and took us to a house, we stayed there for three days, then I contacted with one of my Yazidi relatives, he asked me if (his daughter Laila) was with me, and he conditioned if his daughter Laila was with us, he would come and save us, but she was not with us. A few days later, the owners of the house themselves told Organization agents about us, and then we were brutally beaten, tortured, whipped, electrocuted and some of parts of our bodies were burned because of our attempt to escape.”

 

Image of the survivor appears with her four children, after fleeing the grip of ISIS and arrival at Commission of Women/ Desteya Jin of Autonomous -Administration in Qamishli on September 30, 2017.

Photo credit: STJ

 

 

I Tried to Commit Suicide Six Times

With fear blended with fright, she retrieved the scenes of her four children’s whipping in front of her eyes for hours by the Libyan merchant, who bought her and forced her to marry him; they could no longer sleep on their backs for several days given the severity of beatings which her children were subjected to, the Libyan trader was threatening to kill her if she wept grief at them as well, that what pushed Vian to try to commit suicide six times as she said:

“I tried to end the agony and attempted to commit suicide many times, and in one of them, I shot myself, but the bullet missed its target and went through aside of my belly; I also tried to eat a lot of pills as well, but that did not kill me either, as I stayed lying on the ground for a long time while my mouth was bleeding. In another time, I tried to stab myself with a knife several stabs, but that also did not work, I asked God for death but it didn’t work.”

 

Concerning ISIS practices against Yazidi people, Vian stressed that the Organization agents were dealing with drug pills before going to any battle, they were also forcing the Yazidi children to use them in suicide bomber operations.

 

 

They Sold me Dozen Times

Nofa tried to escape and end her suffering three times, most of them failed, and every time she was discovered, ISIS agents whom she was given to exposed her to collective sexual rape. In this regard, Nofa told STJ:

“One time I tried to flee, the Organization agents grabbed me, they threw me down of the top of a building, and as a result my feet were broken and my vertebrae injured a lot. In the second time of my escape, the Organization agents caught me on the Turkish border, brought me back to Deir ez-Zur, and forced me to take drugs, so I did not know what happened after that, but all I remember is that they sold me more than fifty times, and that they electrocuted my body and dragged me by car as a kind of punishment.”

 

Nofa adds that she was beaten and tortured every time she refused to be sold. She assured to STJ that she had asked them over and over to stop selling her to Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, Saudis and others, and how she was subjected to various types of torture such as death threat by pistol, electroshock and cut with knife, she added:

“We did not know the prices on which we were sold or bought, they were forcing us to wear obscene clothes, they were filming and displaying us at the captives/Sabaya market, and most of those who bought us were elderly people. I have seen a lot of ill-treatments; sometimes I was daily sold and bought, as I had a day with someone the other day with someone else. And I didn’t realize what was going on due to the amount of drugs they were giving me.”

 

Last Escape and Access to Safety…

With the intensification of the fighting in Deir ez-Zur, between Syrian regular forces and ISIS, many residents of the city, including families of ISIS organization, fled. However, this time Nofa and her children managed to flee along with wives of ISIS members, who threaten Vian and Nofa and other Yazidi captives to keep their secret from checkpoints run by SDF or the regular forces of Syria, in this regard, Vian said:

“Wives of ISIS members prevented us from raising our heads or uttering any word on the checkpoints during the fleeing trip; we argued that we were sick, and they were carrying knives in their pockets threatening to kill our children if we talked or told anything about them. Our only condition was to hand us over to the Kurds, and after a long hard travel, we arrived the garage of Sarmda city in Idlib province, then many ISIS wives entered Idlib and others entered Turkey through the crossing points, and we saw many of ISIS fighters whom shaved their beards and entered Turkey, claiming that they were displaced.”

 

Vian and Nofa, with the help a fighter of al-Nusra Front, could reach boundaries of Afrin, the Kurdish town that follows Aleppo province, and then to Qamishli.  Following their arrival to safety, both Nofa and Vian along with their children prepared to travel to Sinjar area, accompanied by a delegation from the Sinjar/Shingal Yazidi Council, hoping to see their parents and relatives after three years of pain and parting.

 

Nofa, or Maria as ISIS called her, knows nothing about her family for three years after agents of ISIS separated her from her family, and she knows nothing about her parents. All her concerns now is to get rid of the effects of drugs on her body, and to start a new life in her village, Kojo that got out of the control of ISIS on May 15, 2017, by Popular Mobilization Forces/PMF/[6].

 

As for Vian who is from Soulag village, all she wishes is to hear good news about her husband and to know that he is alive, she briefly added at the end of her speech:

“I want the entire world to know that no Yazidi girl wants to get married to ISIS man but they always injected us and forced us to take drugs, and they tied our hands and legs to rape us.”

 

Nofa said that she was beginning to forget her mother tongue (Kurdish language) because they forced her to speak only Arabic. She wished salvation for all the Yazidi girls and women from ISIS captivity, and she wishes that the day she can take her and her family’s revenge from ISIS, come soon and she also wishes to meet her relatives.

 

Vian concludes that she has never believed that she will be free from ISIS grip one day, she ended saying:

“I have never imagined that I will speak Kurdish language again, they prevented us to speak Kurdish and described us as infidels, and even my young children were whipped whenever they spoke Kurdish. For now I just want to know anything about my husband and revenge ISIS.”

 

 


[1] Syrian Democratic Forces: also known as SDF forces, is a coalition of Arab, Kurds, Syriac, Turkmen and other combatants, that announced forming SDF on October11, 2015, and People’s Protection Units YPG form its backbone. SDF constitute of 27 military factions (Special Task Brigade 45, 99 Infantry Brigade, Liwa al-Qaqaa, Kurds Front, Seljuk Brigade, Sultan Salim Brigade, Ein Jalot Brigade, Aleppo Ashaar forces, Tajamouh alweat al-Jazirah, al-Jazaa Martyrs ‘ Brigade, Tal Hammise Martyrs , Brigade Martyrs of Tal Brak , Karhok Martyrs Brigade, the Martyrs Brigade of Mabrouk, al-Hasakah Martyrs Brigade, Rawia Martyrs Brigade of Tajamouh alweat alFurat, Tajamouh Furat Jarablus Brigade, Ahrar Jarablus Brigade, Euphrates Martyrs Brighade, al-Sad Martyr Battalion, al-Sanadid forces, Liwa alTahrir, the Syriac military junta, the North Sun Brigades, Jabhat Thwar Raqqa, People’s Protection Units/YPG/ and women’s Protection Units/YPJ/). It is mainly supported by the International Coalition leading the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, led by United States of America.

[2] Islamic State, also known as ISIS, emerged for the first time after the conflict onset in Syria in 2011, under the name of Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. But in April 2013 it was promoted as a result of a merger between Islamic State of Iraq on the one hand and al-Nusra Front, on the other hand, before the latter refused to do so, and asked al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for the new organization to focus on Iraq, and leave Syria to al-Nusra Front at that time.

Prior this date, the organization was active in Iraq under the name of Jama’at al-Tawhid Wa’al Jihad” before becoming al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi became the leader in 2004 and announced pledging allegiance to the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

After killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by US forces in 2006, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer became the leader, and declared after a few months the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq but under the leadership of “Abi Omar al-Baghdadi” and “Abu Hamza al-Muhajer became an assistant of the leader of the organization.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “Abdullah Ibrahim”, the successor of Abi Omar al-Baghdadi had proclaimed, on  June29, 2014, the formation of The Islamic Caliphate, called himself “Caliph of the Muslims”, and assigned Raqqa, a Syrian city, the capital of the Organization.

[3] See the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, published on June 16, 2016, about the crime of genocide against Yazidis ,

[4] On January 14, 2015, Sinjar Yazidi Council was established, consisting of 14 committees to oversee the organization and management of Yazidi in Sinjar region, and supervise the affairs of Yazidi abductees by ISIS.

[5] Syrian Democratic Forces/SDF/ succeeded in taking over Raqqa from the grip of the Organization, and announced its control on October 17, 2017.

[6] It is one of the factions of the Iraqi government forces. It has 45 armed factions and 130,000 combatants, including 30,000 Sunni fighters, it was founded in early June 2014, at the invitation of the Shia religious reference “Ayatollah Ali Sistani”, and these forces participated in the Iraqi Army campaign to restore the city of Mosul on October 2016. These forces and the Iraqi Army also participated in its battles against ISIS in central and western Iraq.

 

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